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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

November 19 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “The Ingenious Living Bridges Of India” • The Indian state of Meghalaya gets so much rain that modern bridges would wash away, but the living bridges stand up to the torrents. Indigenous groups in north-east India have crafted intricate bridges from living fig trees for centuries. Now this ancient skill is making its way to European cities. [CNN]

Double living bridge (Arshiya Urveeja Bose, CC-BY-SA 2.0)

  • “Bamboo Has Been Used For Thousands Of Years In Asia. Now, It Could Help Solve Construction’s Sustainability Problem” • Strong and flexible, bamboo grows fast. While soft and hard woods can take between 40 and 150 years to mature, bamboo is ready to harvest in as little as three years. When treated and engineered, it can last for decades. [CNN]
  • “Entergy’s Big Bet On Renewables” • It doesn’t seem all that long ago when Entergy had grand plans for nuclear power. But the company is now all-in on renewable energy. The surprising thing is how fast renewables will grow. The company gets 1% of its energy from renewables now, but that figure will rise to 17% in three years and 33% in five. [starherald.net]
  • “Plugin Vehicles Have 23% Of New Car Sales In France” • In France, plugin car sales grew in October, with registrations ending at 27,109 units, divided between 15,582 battery EVs and 11,527 plug-in hybrid EVs. The former jumped 55% year over year, while the latter were up 13%. The overall market was down 31% compared to October 2020 [CleanTechnica]
  • “$2.6 Billion Committed To New Solar Projects in Texas, California” • Intersect Power announced it has closed eight separate deals, representing a total of $2.6 billion in financing commitments for construction and operation of six late-stage solar energy projects with 2.2 GW of generating capacity in California and Texas. [Power Magazine]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

Harvest Festival TOMORROW! Winter Holiday Arts & Wellness Camps for kids and more!

Here’s a fun event from The Sage Street Mill!
 
Join us tomorrow at the HARVEST FESTIVAL!
Free entry & parking from 4-6 PM
  • Live music performance by David C Domenick!
  • Closing Reception of Re-envisioning Renewables!
  • Alternative Market: featuring a Middle Eastern grill (Lebanese food), sourdough bread, microgreens, organic produce, fresh meat, raw-milk, natural fragrances, crystals, prints and crafts! All brought to you by local women and minority owned local businesses!
  • Kids station: interactive solar panel, board games, and art supplies for kids!
 
OPEN REGISTRATION – Winter Vacation Arts & Wellness Camps for Kids! Get $50 off if you register before January 1st. 
“Our campers will engage with nature, art programming and learn wellness practices through our daily gratitude circle, art and mindfulness activities, reflection time and team building games.”
Program schedule: 
1st Week Session: December 27-31st, 2021
2nd Week Session: February 21-25th, 2022

Meeting time: 9-4pm M-Friday
Covid Restriction: Limit to 12 kids in a group
Ages: 6-12

Our registration is currently open and we will really appreciate it if you can share the news with your friends and family:)
Registration/medical/accommodations form and more information can be found here: https://www.sagestreetmill.com/winter-camps

November 18 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “UK-Led COP Aviation Declaration Too Weak To Clean Up Flying” • The UK-led international climate ambition declaration for aviation is too weak to reduce flying’s climate impact, says Transport & Environment. In relying on the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation, the signatories make the same mistakes as earlier efforts. [CleanTechnica]

Future United Airlines electric airplane (United Airlines image)

  • “Fires In The Sierra Nevada Likely To Grow In Frequency” • Research from the University of California, Irvine says that by 2040, as humans continue to change the climate, fire-conducive heat waves will become so common that the number of blazes throughout the Sierra stands to increase about 50%. The study appears in the journal Science Advances. [UCI News]
  • “Wind Energy Ireland Strives For A Reduction In Energy Prices” • Wind Energy Ireland, the representative body for Irish windpower, called for the reduction of renewable energy prices and overall electricity bills for ratepayers in Ireland. The leader of the organisation said that Ireland has some of the world’s best resources but high energy costs. [Energy Digital]
  • “Microgrids Powered By Renewables Will Generate 500,000 Jobs And $72 Billion In GDP Growth By 2030” • Microgrids are a solution for resilience, for both the climate and the economy. A Guidehouse Insights report says that every $1 million invested in renewable energy microgrids will create $500,000 in economic benefits and 3.4 skilled jobs. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Maine Voters Reject Renewable Energy Transmission” • The Citizens of Maine voted to pass Maine Question 1 in Tuesday’s election. It called for the revocation of approvals previously issued by Maine regulators for a proposed $1 billion power line called the New England Clean Air Connect. Doing so, they made the energy transition harder in several states. [Forbes]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

November 17 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Utility-Scale Solar Reaches LCOE Range Of 2.8¢ To 4.1¢ Per kWh In The USA (Record Low)” • Utility-scale solar has reached another record low in Levelized Cost of Energy, at 2.8¢/kWh to 4.1¢/kWh, according to Lazard’s latest LCOE report, version 15.0. Lazard found that renewables are increasingly outcompeting other forms of energy. [CleanTechnica]

Lazard’s LCOE chart (Lazard image)

  • “Nuclear Power Won’t Save the World. It Won’t Even Help” • Putting money into nuclear power goes beyond being a huge waste. It detracts from the vital issue of dealing with climate change now by making money unavailable for dealing with the problem using less expensive, more flexible energy that can be built much more quickly. [Green Energy Times]
  • “Germany Suspends Approval For Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline” • Germany suspended its approval process for the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which would double its reliance on Russian gas following growing geopolitical pressure to scrap the project. It is a big setback to Kremlin-backed Gazprom’s plans to extend Russian gas dominance. [The Guardian]
  • “This City Had Its Hottest Day On Record This Summer. 140 Days Later, It Had Its Wettest” • Abbotsford, British Columbia, recorded its hottest day ever with a temperature of 109°F during an unprecedented heat wave in June. Just 140 days later, it broke another record with 4 inches of rain in 24 hours. Climate change can bring “weather whiplash.” [CNN]
  • “Delhi Smog: Schools And Colleges Shut As Pollution Worsens” • Authorities in Delhi shut all schools and colleges indefinitely amid the worsening air pollution. Construction work has been banned until 21 November, though with specific exceptions. Only five of the eleven coal-based power plants in the city have been allowed to operate. [BBC]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

Nuclear Power Won’t Save the World

It Won’t Even Help

San Onofre nuclear plant (awnisALAN, CC-BY-SA 2.0)

Originally published at Green Energy Times.

By George Harvey

An old paradigm

The electricity most of us use comes from a system that was designed mostly over a hundred years ago. It was built around concepts that benefited customers of that time. It started with baseload power plants with transmission lines carrying the electricity to towns and cities where customers lived.

A baseload power plant is designed for efficiency of scale and operation. In those days, that meant it had to be as big as possible. Since any ability to ramp power output up or down quickly would cost a lot extra, the plants were designed to have constant output. With constant output, a baseload plant had be sized to meet a demand that could be counted on always to be there. This is the base load, the lowest load that the grid would ever have over the course of time.

Since the baseload power plant was designed to cover the lowest load, any amount of electricity that would be in excess of that would have to come from other sources, all of which cost much more to run. They were load-following plants and peaker plants.

Baseload power plants were sited based on cost and access to resources they needed. Typically, they went up on inexpensive land at some distance from the market they served. They had to have access to fuel resources, which often meant that they needed their own docks or rail sidings. Also, they were often placed on bodies of water to take care of their cooling needs, which are great, because only about a third of the heat they produce could be used to generate electricity.

Originally, baseload plants mostly burned coal. When nuclear reactors were brought online, starting in mid-century, they fit right in with what was the current paradigm of the time. The difference was that they produced nuclear waste instead of air pollution and carbon dioxide.

We might note for reference here that when the state of Vermont was looking for a contract to replace electricity it had been getting from the Vermont Yankee (VY) nuclear plant, the owner of VY made an offer that they said the state could not refuse. It was the equivalent of 6.5¢ per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The state immediately found cheaper renewable electricity.

A new paradigm

By contrast, today the least expensive source of renewable power need not be large. Solar panels operate at the same efficiency whether they be in utility-scale arrays or on a residential roof-top. Significant amounts of electricity can be generated by solitary wind turbines.

Of course there is a statement, “The sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow,” which happens to fall into a range of unintentionally disingenuous to simply deceptive. The amount of electricity coming from a given solar array is really rather predictable and tends to come best in periods of light winds. And wind turbines do best when the sun is not shining brightest, so they compliment each other. But more to the point, while a single wind turbine can be idled in calm weather, the wind never stops blowing over wider geographical areas.

We might ask whether the problem of variable output of wind and solar power is as big as the problem of inability of baseload power to follow loads. The answer to this can be seen in the relative costs of electricity from load following and peaking plants, on the one hand, and batteries, on the other. We could do a detailed analysis of this, but it is really not necessary because the utilities are showing the results of their own analyses.

A number of utilities are replacing plants powered by natural gas, which includes most load-following and peaking plants, with solar arrays and batteries. In one case, Entergy Mississippi is planning to replace older natural gas plants with solar and windpower. In the case of Entergy Arkansas, a combined-cycle (base-load) natural gas plant it had planned will not be built, and the company will build renewable resources instead. (KATV.com)(www.bit.ly/EAs-new-plan)

Comparing nuclear power with solar+storage

An article in PV Magazine in August compared the cost of two new nuclear reactors with a combination of solar photovoltaics (PVs) and battery storage that would replace them functionally, as dispatchable power sources running full time.(www.bit.ly/PV-Mag-compare) The article is titled, “Solar challenging nuclear as potential climate change solution.”

The author, who had some expertise in systems that include solar+storage (S+S), used actual costs for the Vogtle reactors that are being built in Georgia. The two reactors, which have been under construction since 2013, are expected to come online in 2022 and 2023, at a cost of roughly $30 billion, including $3 billion in finance costs. Their capacities will be 1,117 megawatts each.

The PV Magazine article calculates the cost of a solar array big enough to provide the same output as the nuclear reactors in the winter in Georgia. It assumes battery storage to supply the output of the nuclear plants for 16 hours, increased by 10% to be safe.

The author shows that the cost of the S+S system designed to replace the two new Vogtle reactors would cost a little less than $17 billion. That would represent a saving of about $10 billion, not counting finance costs.

While that sounds impressive, the article fails in a number of respects. Here are some:

Output of the S+S system is calculated to be the same as nuclear in the dead of winter. The nuclear plant’s output will be constant year round, but the S+S system will produce far more electricity nearly all year than in the dead of winter. The value of the extra electricity from S+S is not accounted for.

The cost of the nuclear plant does not include the backup systems it requires, but the price calculated for S+S does.

The load-following and peaker plants used to work with nuclear power, are slow to react to demand changes. By comparison, battery backup can respond nearly instantly, making it far more valuable.

Nuclear waste is an unsolved problem that the U.S. government guarantees, at taxpayer expense. The same is true for insurance, which is covered by the Price-Anderson act. S+S systems do not have comparable costs.

The author does not take into account Wright’s Law, a recognized law of economics referred to as “the learning curve.” It suggests that construction of a battery system of the size envisioned would be sufficient to drive the cost of storage down quickly enough to reduce the cost of the S+S system itself.

Electricity from new nuclear facilities is very expensive. It becomes far cheaper once the system is paid down. Please refer back to the bid from VY, of 6.5¢/kWh. By comparison the cost of electricity from S+S is very low. A report from February, 2020, which appeared at S&P Global, “Falling US solar-plus-storage prices start to level as batteries supersize,” says that power purchase agreements have dropped into the range of 3¢/kWh to 4¢/kWh. (www.bit.ly/Falling-SS-price) But the costs of solar, wind, and battery systems keep falling. According to the U.S. DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in an article published at CleanTechnica, the costs of S+S systems declined by over 12% from the first quarter of 2020 to the same quarter in 2021 alone. (www.bit.ly/SS-dropping-costs)

Nuclear as an answer to climate change

There are some who feel that the nuclear industry may have a way to become relevant in the new “small modular reactors.” An article on this appeared in the October, 2021, issue of Green Energy Times, “When It Comes to Nuclear Power, ‘Advanced’ Isn’t Always Better.” (www.bit.ly/Advanced-nuclear) It explained that rhetoric around these reactors seemed to be unrealistic and achievable timetables were not able to help when we need most to address climate change, which is right now.

I would suggest that nuclear industry numbers about costs, timelines, and safety have historically been far off the mark, a problem that those promoting newer types of reactors have not addressed at all. In fact, it is almost as though the industry has three types of numbers.

There is one type that is simply correct, but it only relates to results of simple calculations.

A second type of number is one that relates to such things as the cost of a reactor or the time needed to build it. These seem very often to be off by a factor of 2. If a reactor is expected to take five years to build and cost $6 billion, it is probably best to bet that it will take ten years and cost $12 billion.

The third type is safety analysis calculations that can actually be checked have historically been off by an order of magnitude. Given the types of reactors that have operated commercially, the safety analysis made on them, and the time they have been running, we should probably have had one commercially operating reactor experience a partial or full melt down worldwide since commercial nuclear plants first started delivering energy. Instead, we have had eleven – that we know of.

All told, we might say that putting money into nuclear power goes beyond being a monumental waste. It detracts from the overarching issue of dealing with climate change by making that money unavailable for dealing with the problem using less expensive, more reliable energy that can be built far more quickly.

Just In! (from NY-GEO)

Just In! is NY-GEO’s weekly news feed for members. NY-GEO’s calendar-year memberships are open to everyone and available for as little as $35. See more information on memberships hereClick here to see some of the work a NY-GEO membership supports. We also feature three of the top news item summaries on the NY-GEO home page every Monday.

2021 11 18 – Town Hall: How You Can Join the Fight for a Fossil Free NY! – 1pm-2pm – The Renewable Heat Now Campaign is organizing to win funding and policies that will get fossil fuels out of our buildings affordably and equitably. “Join us to hear about our 2022 legislative package for Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature.  Learn how you can get involved in the movement for renewable heat, and how we will organize and build our power to win!” The legislative package includes a geothermal tax credit (S3864/A7493) and sales tax exemption (S642a/A8147) as well as the All-Electric Building Act (S6843a) that would sunset fossil fuels in new construction starting January 1, 2024 .  It also includes the Advanced building codes, appliance and equipment efficiency standards act of 2021 (S7176/A8143RSVP here for the Zoom link. If the 18th doesn’t work for you, there will also be a session on December 1st at 6:00 PM.

Capitol Pressroom: “Environmental Advocates Urge State To Prioritize All-Electric Homes – Nov. 9, 2021 – Environmentalists are calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to transition 2 million homes to energy-efficient, all-electric residences by 2030, in order to make a dent in the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to Lisa Marshall, of Mothers Out Front NY, and Sonal Jessel, of WE ACT for Environmental Justice.” 15 minute interview here.


Lisa Marshall – Mothers Out Front

Sonal Jessel WE ACT for Environmental Justice

 

Governor Hochul Announces Energy Efficient Upgrades For Affordable Housing Units – Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the RetrofitNY funding announced today [2021 11 10] seeks to support owners of eligible affordable housing buildings up to seven stories. The program helps building owners planning substantial renovations in their roofs, windows, and/or heating system replacements within the next two years. Owners of qualifying buildings may also be eligible for up to $100,000 in design incentives… Owners may also be eligible for up to an additional $40,000 per dwelling unit, with a cap of $1.6 million per building, subject to funding availability, to cover incremental costs for all electric, whole-building upgrades that put buildings on a path to carbon neutrality. This incremental funding is meant to bridge the gap between financing from other sources such as regulated housing agencies, bank loans and tax credits used for business-as-usual renovations.

Sponsored by

November 16 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Jericho’s Two New Solar Plants Will Generate Enough Power For 7,800 Vermont Homes” • Two utility-sized solar plants have come online in Jericho, Vermont, topping a former gravel pit and a closed-down landfill. They are expected to generate enough electricity for 7,800 homes, according to their developer, Encore Renewable Energy. [Burlington Free Press]

Solar array on the former Jericho landfill (Encore Renewable Energy)

  • “Electrification Of Rail Freight Industry Takes One (Just One) Giant Step Forward” • Everybody knows that transportation by rail freight is fuel efficient. The missing link for sustainability is full electrification. Now we can see some hope in the form of a 100% electric locomotive soon to ply the rails for the Canadian railway company CN. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Ford And Purdue University Created A Cable That Fully Charges An EV In 5 Minutes” • Ford has teamed up with Purdue University to build a prototype of a cable that could fully charge an EV’s battery in just five minutes without overheating. It could help overcome one of the last major obstacles standing in the way of EVs achieving mass acceptance. [Yahoo]
  • “Solar Project Now Powers Five New England Colleges” • The 76.5-MW Farmington solar project in Maine has entered service, and will supply power to five New England colleges, Amherst, Bowdoin, Hampshire, Smith, and Williams, as part of a 20-year power purchase agreement. A unit of NextEra Energy Resources built the facility. [pv magazine USA]
  • “Biden Signs ‘Once-In-A-Generation’ $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Into Law” • US President Joe Biden has signed into law a $1.2 trillion spending bill. The legislation pledges funding to upgrade highways, roads, and bridges, to modernize transit and passenger rail networks, and for clean drinking water, high speed internet, and a nationwide network of EV charging points. [BBC]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

November 15 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “COP26 Ended With The Glasgow Climate Pact. Here’s Where It Succeeded And Failed” • Nearly 200 countries adopted the Glasgow Climate Pact at the COP26 talks, after wrangling nearly two weeks. The pact will not get us to the goal we need to reach, but in some important ways, the talks were successful in moving us forward. Here are some major points. [CNN]

Demonstration (francis mckee, CC-BY-SA 2.0)

  • “Climate Deal Sounds The Death Knell For Coal Power – PM” • The Glasgow climate deal is a “game-changing agreement” which sounds “the death knell for coal power,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. Although countries only agreed to “phase down” rather than “phase out” coal, a change India insisted on, he said this was a fantastic achievement. [BBC]
  • “This Colorado ‘Solar Garden’ Is Literally A Farm Under Solar Panels” • A Colorado solar garden is also growing vegetables, with help from researchers at nearby Colorado State University and the National Renewable Energy Lab. They had been studying how to turn all the otherwise unused land beneath solar panels into a place to grow food. [WPRL]
  • “NFI Expands Its Partnership With Li-Cycle To Recycle Heavy-Duty EV Batteries At Scale” • NFI Group, the maker of New Flyer buses, announced the expansion of its partnership with Li-Cycle. This will facilitate heavy-duty battery recycling at scale as heavy-duty EV adoption grows. The deal is Li-Cycle’s first program in the heavy-duty vehicle space. [CleanTechnica]
  • “While Nations Dither, US Cities, Counties, And States Are Suing Fossil Fuel Companies” • How the nations at COP26 will act on climate change is yet to be seen, but US states, counties, and cities are acting. At least 29 of them have filed climate lawsuits in state courts against major fossil fuel companies for fraud, damages, or both. [CleanTechnica]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

November 14 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Solar PV And PV+Storage Costs Keep Dropping, New NREL Reports Show” • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released its annual cost breakdown of installed solar PV and battery storage systems. US Solar Photovoltaic System and Energy Storage Cost Benchmark: Q1 2021 details installed costs for PV systems as of the first quarter of 2021. [CleanTechnica]

Change in costs of PV+storage systems (NREL image)

  • “COP26 Climate Deal Includes Historic Reference To Fossil Fuels But Doesn’t Meet The Urgency Of The Crisis” • Nearly 200 nations reached a climate agreement at COP26. It references the role of fossil fuels in the climate crisis for the first time. India made an 11th-hour objection, however, that watered down the language about reducing the use of coal. [CNN]
  • “What Is COP26 And What Has Been Agreed At Glasgow Climate Conference?” • Extreme weather events linked to climate change are intensifying. The past decade was the warmest on record and governments agree urgent collective action is needed. COP26 was the latest of a series of meetings on what to do about it. Here are some things agreed on. [BBC]
  • “Delta Boss Says Climate Change Means Flying Will Cost More” • Delta Air Lines chief executive Ed Bastian told the BBC that tackling climate change will make flying more expensive. Atlanta-based Delta, the world’s second biggest airline, says that it spends $30 million per year on carbon-offsetting and has been carbon neutral since March 2020. [BBC]
  • “XPRIZE & Musk Foundation Announce 23 XPRIZE Carbon Removal Student Award Winners” • Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk along with his foundation are funding the XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition, which is aimed at fighting climate change. XPRIZE announced that $5 million of that prize was been awarded to 23 student-led teams. [CleanTechnica]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

November 13 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Turning The Tide For Renewables In Alaska” • A highly energetic corner of the Pacific Ocean, Cook Inlet holds one of the greatest tidal resources on Earth. All that energy has the potential to reduce Alaska residents’ dependence on declining oil and gas production and provide excess renewable energy that could stimulate the Alaskan economy. [AltEnergyMag]
  • “Regenerative Agriculture: A Way To Sequester Carbon” • Regenerative agriculture is a system of farming that seeks to rehabilitate and enhance the entire ecosystem of the farm by placing a heavy premium on soil health, with attention also paid to water management and fertilizer use. Such practices will help us fight the climate crisis. [CleanTechnica]
  • “COP26 Goes Into Overtime As Deep Divisions Remain Over Key Issues Around Money And Markets” • Negotiations may run through the night Friday at COP26, as stark divisions remain on some key issues. A note from COP26 President Alok Sharma said a new draft of the agreement would likely be published at around 8:00 AM local time on Saturday. [CNN]
  • “Crunch Time As Climate Deal Talks Pass Deadline” • Sticking points include phasing out coal, subsidies on other fossil fuels, and financial help to poorer nations. The draft agreement has watered down commitments to end the use of unabated coal and inefficient subsidies on other fossil fuels. Meanwhile, small island nations are fast disappearing to rising seas. [BBC]
  • “PJM IMM Identifies Market Design Issues As Gas Prices Drive Up PJM Power Prices” • PJM Interconnection real-time, load-weighted average power prices increased 68.1% in the first nine months of 2021, driven mostly by natural gas price increases. PJM IMM serves 65 million customers in the Eastern US from Pennsylvania to Virginia and Illinois. [S&P Global]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.